SMDC, RTS play role in latest missile test
Members of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command assigned to the Reagan Operations Center – Huntsville control sensors at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, or RTS, on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands during the Missile Defense Agency’s FTG-12 test Dec. 11. ROC-H is the command and control facility for missile defense testing and for space operations at RTS despite being more than 6,500 miles from Kwajalein. FTG-12 is a flight test of the nation’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system using an upgraded ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. (Photo Credit: Jason Cutshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Soldiers and civilians played an important role in a recent missile defense test executed by the Missile Defense Agency.

MDA conducted a flight test of the nation’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system using an upgraded ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, Dec. 11. Called FTG-12, the test employed an upgraded GBI with a Capability Enhanced-II Block 1 Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle used to intercept an intermediate range ballistic missile.

“I would like to recognize the tremendous support and dedication provided by the RTS Mission Safety team during FTG-12 test,” said Col. Juan R. Santiago Jr., director of the U.S. Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, or RTS, on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. “Most of the team deployed before Thanksgiving to finalize plans and executed multiple rehearsals prior to the FTG-12. They have a lot to be proud of and will all be home to celebrate the holiday season and new year with their families.

“I am humbled on a daily basis by the passion and professionalism of the Reagan Test Site team,” he added. “The contributions provided by the RTS Mission Safety during FTG-12 ensured the Missiles Defense Agency had a safety range environment to achieve its objectives. To say I’m extremely proud of the RTS team is an understatement.”

The GBI was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base and successfully intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target. The engagement took place over the Pacific Ocean, completing an integrated exercise of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System.

“It is vitally important for the Technical Center and the Reagan Test Site to support the Missile Defense Agency’s mission in developing and testing capabilities that provide a layered missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from missile attacks,” Santiago said. “The Reagan Test Site provides MDA lead mission safety support for the MDA targets and interceptors, which include flight debris analysis, notice to airmen, notice to mariners, telemetry collection, flight termination, and real-time mission execution using instrumented ships near specific test activities.”

Supporting the launch from Huntsville, Ala., were members of SMDC assigned to the Reagan Operations Center – Huntsville. Soldiers and civilians assigned to ROC-H control sensors at the RTS. ROC-H is the command and control facility for missile defense testing and for space operations at RTS despite being more than 6,500 miles from Kwajalein.

Michael W. Butler, RTS Mission Operations Division chief, said RTS’ role in the mission was to perform the safety analysis and real-time control of the target used in FTG-12, and to collect telemetry on the interceptor.

“RTS was vital to the success of the mission,” Butler said. “Without the safety team involvement, the test could not have occurred. RTS is part of the larger team of players involved in making a complex test like FTG-12 a success.

“The RTS team did an exceptional job,” he added. “I’m extremely proud of their dedication, abilities and determination to succeed.”